One morning four months ago, I woke up to a terrible noise. Off in the distance, massive bulldozers were tearing down the forest in our backyard. Without a word of warning, the neighbor had decided to clear cut the property bordering our yard. When the snow melted, the newly revealed devastation was overwhelming; the land lay gouged and strewn with deadfall too small to be of use for pulp processing. I could not begin to fathom the loss of life- the trees, animals and our connection to Earth.
How shall I maintain my composure and balance over the upcoming years as the logging project marches toward the scheduled date when large tracts of land shall be harvested all around us? Vrksasana pose has become more difficult.
The yoga mat is my ballast when I can no longer focus. I broaden the collarbones and descend the shoulderblades to recreate space and release the muscles adducting my heart. I practice breathing. After all these years of practice, why is it still so hard to breathe?
Where would I be without my mat? Yoga is my companion, my teacher. And yes, I know the forest will grow back eventually. Meanwhile I need to practice patience, balance and breathing.
By Heidi Martin
Heidi is a current member of the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200 hour teacher training program.